Meet Some of the Talent Behind This Month's Young Artist Initiative

As Miami continues to assert itself as a force in the international art world, a group of locally based up-and-comers are looking to shake things up. Planned as a blend of visual art and music, the Young Artist Initiative (YAI) reckons to subvert traditional art establishments and search for new ways to collaborate and produce. Their efforts come to a head at their quarterly happenings at The Edition Hotel's Basement nightclub. The overall production is a blend of music and art– pairing DJs and live acts, with painters and performance artists. The space already boasts an indoor ice-skating rink and bowling alley, and will be livened up with a dash of creative color. 

"Our mission is to find local creatives, place them in a venue, and invite people to come see them perform," YAI co-founder George Read says. "Our last event at Basement we had over 600 people: It broadens their platform and increase their audience size."

It's not a new idea. By bringing art to the local club scene, they blur the line between high and lowbrow. In the 1980s—when New York City had a healthy club culture— downtown creatives would clamber into nightclubs, putting on elaborate demonstrations of their talent in the hopes of being spotted by a wealthy collector, an influential gallery owner, or simply gaining mass exposure. Artists, like Keith Haring, benefited from the boost provided by the nascent club kid movement and their tribal beats. In turn, his aesthetic aided their music.   

The YAI wants to create the same sort of symbiotic relationship between music and art right in the middle of Miami's trendiest clubs. This Thursday, they're coming out in full force with a line-up of 19 acts, including photographers, DJs, painters, and conceptual artists. Here's just a taste of what they have planned: 


Writer is a conceptual artist whose practice blends aspects of eastern philosophy, calligraphy, and poetry. His hand-written missives have served as public art around Miami, notably along building facades in Wynwood. The short stanzas recall the work of Persian poet Omar Khayyam, who's aphorisms became an important part of the New Age spiritual revival in the west. Apart from his work as a muralist, Writer has collaborated with Sixt Rent- a-Car, festooning one of their vehicles with his work.

Castel is a Miami-based painter who looks to explicate the foundations of modern consumerism with careful brushstrokes of gold acrylic. A New World School of The Arts graduate, she's shown her work at SCOPE Miami during Art Basel, as well as several local galleries including New World, ArtSeen, and Art Fusion.

This Miami-based DJ is also the leader of WVUM 90.5's flagship electronic music show. Born Kunal Chohan, he draws inspiration from local music makers like Dude Skywalker, Oscar G and Lazaro Casanova. His mixes invite club goers to dance, explore, experiment and embark on a sonic odyssey. 

If you'd like to check-out some art while twerking it out on the dance floor, and you're 21+, then be sure to stop by Basement at the Edition Hotel, this Thursday, September 3rd. Things kick-off around 9:30 p.m. Entry is free. 
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Neil Vazquez is an arts and entertainment writer who works at the intersection of highbrow and lowbrow A Miami native and Northwestern University graduate, he usually can be found sipping overpriced coffee, walking his golden retriever, or doing yoga.
Contact: Neil Vazquez